French Pointing Dog – Gascogne Type

April 12, 2012

The French Gascony Pointer is considered as one of the uncommon dog breeds. This breed took its name from Gascony, a province in southern France where the dog was developed. It was believed that this breed was the result of mating imported Spanish and Italian pointers. Another theory to the origin of this breed states that it has originated from the Chien d’ Oysel, a pointing dog that existed during the 14th century.

The Braque Francais Type Gascogne is a large beautiful breed that has a noble appearance. This is a powerful strong boned dog that does not show excessive heaviness. The dog is a fast and adept hunter, valued by French hunting aficionados for its excellent hunting, pointing and setting abilities for over 200 years. This is a methodical hunter. The dog would show tenacity, can even be obsessive in tracking down the prey. A hunting French Gascony Pointer is an awesome sight. The dog would sprint very fast and backtrack to find the prey. With its nose in the air the dog would find air scents. It is equally adept in finding scents of prey on the ground even if it is under the cover of heavy vegetation.

The French Gascony Pointer is not only a prized gundog; the breed also makes an outstanding family pet. This is an obedient, loyal and affectionate home companion. This breed makes a poor watchdog as it is known to be very friendly and mild mannered. Very intelligent, a French Gascony Pointer would be easy to train. However, the dog has a sensitive personality. Training should be conducted in a consistent, firm but gentle manner. This dog will respond badly to harsh training methods. Starting a training session with play would make the dog more receptive and obedient.

This breed was at the brink of extinction during the early part of the 20th century. Fortunately the breed was revived by dedicated breeders. The breed can only be seen in its country of origin. The French Gascony Pointer may not enjoy the popularity it had in the past. The numbers may be modest but it is no longer on the brink of extinction given that the breed is most valued by the French hunters for its exceptional hunting abilities.

Information

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Appearance

The French Gascony Pointer is a long legged muscular dog with a powerful but noble appearance. The dog has a rather long but almost flat skull, a muzzle that is broad and a little convex, pendant lips, strong jaws and teeth that has a pincher bite. Well opened eyes have a frank expression. Eye color can be chestnut brown or dark yellow. The ears are set at eye level, medium sized, have a rounded tip and slightly folded. The ears frame the head and carried by the dog in a drop ear fashion. When stretched, the ears reach the rear edge of the nose. The dog has brown nose that is broad and have well opened nostrils.

The dog has a rather long, broad and straight back, a short well muscled loin that is slightly arched and a broad chest that reach the level of the elbows. The dog’s belly is tucked up. Generally, the tail is docked. Undocked tail is long and well carried by the dog.

The dog has well furnished thick hair that is finer on the ears and on the head. Coat color can be chestnut brown. Some specimens have chestnut brown coats with white marking and in some dogs the chestnut brown is heavily speckled with white. Some dogs have tan marking above the eyes, on the lips and on the legs.

Personality

A French Gascony Pointer is one exceptional hunter. Because the dog is well mannered it makes a wonderful family pet too. Owners would attest to the fact that this breed was born “raised”. Very little training is needed for this dog. Nature may have made this so because even if the dog is really easy to train it is ultra sensitive. The dog has an innate eagerness to please trait, it is also intelligent and obedient but at times it would manifest an attitude that would make the handler or the owner lose his temper. Shouting at the dog is a bad idea. Having a sensitive personality, the dog may cower and altogether refuse to budge. An interesting training though would make this dog obedient and learn at a consistent pace.

This dog works hard and plays hard too. The dog shows great enthusiasm while hunting. It would also be enthusiastic in playing with the children. Frisbee and a game of fetch would make the dog delirious with happiness. It is after all bonding time with the human family. This breed though prefers to be in the company of older children. A Braque Francais Type Gascogne gets along well with dogs and other household pets.

This is a friendly breed, so don’t expect your pet to be a watch dog. It would not be surprising if an intruder or a stranger will be enthusiastically met with a wagging tail. This breed needs vigorous exercise. The dog can be kept in an apartment as long as the high exercise requirement of the dog is provided for by the owner.

Care

The French Gascony Pointer requires very little maintenance. This is an easy dog to care for. The short hair would need to be brushed occasionally to maintain its good condition. Bathing the dog every three to four weeks would ensure that doggie smell will not permeate the home. Groom the dog after it has been on a hunting trip. This way burrs on the dog’s coat and thorns on the feet if any will be removed. This dog is an average shedder. Brush the dog’s coat more often during shedding season to remove dead hair and also to accelerate the shedding process.

History

The Braque Francais Type Gascogne can be traced to the Gascony, a region in southwestern France. Together with its cousin the French Pyrenean Pointer, the French Gascony Pointer is believed to be one of the oldest breeds of pointing dogs extant today. These French Pointing dogs are believed to be the cousin of the English Pointer and the ancestor of many of today’s European pointing breeds.

The Braque Francais Type Gascogne can trace its origin from the Chien d’ Oysel, a pointing dog whose existence in the Mediterranean region dates back to the 14th century. This dog that was used to hunt partridge is believed to be the ancestors of the French pointing dogs. From the Chien d’ Oysel, countless variations have “sprouted” in different towns and villages not only in France but also in southwestern Europe. Various breeds took the name of the province where it was bred. These dogs may have different names but written descriptions and illustrations depict the same breed of dog. Selincourt, a hunter described the dog in 1683 as tall, with a strongly built body, with a square muzzle, a large nose and long ears. The dog has a brown and white coat. The breed was further developed and in the 17th century the first French Pointer was created.

The French Revolution drastically affected the breed. The French people’s interest for this pointing dog waned. The preference shifted to English Pointer. French hunters in the Gascone area remained steadfast in their loyalty to the breed though. The French Pointers were still used to hunt in this area.

At the dawning of the 20th century a spit occurred to the French Pointer. Some hunting aficionados are clamoring for a dog with the attributes of the Gascone but in a smaller package. The dog has to be small to adapt to urban living. Moreover the dog need to have stamina, has to be fast and agile to hunt the difficult terrain of the Pyrenees Mountain. The split was finally made in 1920. The larger and the original breed became the Braque Francais Type Gascogne and the smaller more agile one became the Braque Francais Pyrenean Type.

The French Gascony Pointer may not be as popular as the French Pyrenean Pointer but the breed is well loved and most valued in its native region ands all over France.

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